Q. Is there anything I should know before I bring my needlework in for custom framing?
There is a few things you should know, in fact we have a blog article that goes right into it and covers things like cleaning and handling as well as some framing information that will help you prepare for making your choices later (don’t worry though – we will guide you through the entire process.) Click here to read the complete article
Q. I bought a canvas painting when traveling – should I keep it rolled up?
A. Since canvas paintings can be extremely delicate and susceptible to cracking, it is best they are in the flat state at all times. This may be difficult for travel or storage. If one feels that the risk of damage to a painting by rolling it is justified by the savings in shipping or storage space, then it should be done for the least amount of time and protected from physical or other damage. The larger the diameter the better. It is a good idea to roll around a sturdy and clean acid free tube with the painted surface facing the OUTSIDE! Most “artists” roll them the other way, which, sets you up for grief when you unroll them. This happens because the paint has slowly adjusted to its compressed state and when you unroll it, the paint will crack due to it not having enough time to adjust to the expanded state. The longer it is rolled up, the more likely the damage will be. If you need to unroll a painting with the paint inside, try to lengthen the unrolling in a humid area, and over as long a period of time as possible. I would suggest keeping an unframed painting stored flat until you need to bring it to a framer, then possibly, if you can’t transport the painting while flat, roll it up for a short period of time in a wide diameter paint-out fashion.
Q. If I am mounting my own photo into a matted frame (a frame that includes a paper type matte border that covers the edge of the photo), what’s the best way to do it?
A. Non-valuable easily-replacable items that are paper-thin can simply be mounted to the back of the matting using a clear filament tape. Use a short length of tape (try to avoid masking tape) that is never longer than 1/2 the width of the photo, and not longer than 4″ on large photos. Turn the photo upside down on a clean flat hard surface and apply tape across the top of the photo with half of it extending over the top edge. Don’t press too hard just yet. Now flip the photo right side up and place the matting over it to cover the edge and when you have positioned it to suit the image, apply finger pressure to the very top center area of the matte window opening (just over the tape that is under the matte). Now flip over the photo and the matting together. Finally rub your finger nail or a smooth hard tool onto all areas of the tape to burnish it onto the material surface to ensure a good tape bond. A common mistake is to use long pieces of tape – don’t – it will cause buckling in time! Remember to consult a professional if any item to be framed is irreplaceable as improper framing can cause permanent and irreversible damage.
Q. Masking tape is my favorite – can I use it to mount photos or on needleworks to keep the edges from fraying?
A. While masking tape is usually very handy in that it is readily available and easy to use, it comes with a lot of risks. In the early twenty’s (heard of them?), the automotive industry needed an effective and economical tape for masking automobiles to facilitate two-tone paint jobs. The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (heard of 3M???) came to the rescue with masking tape. Oddly enough, (haha) they called it masking tape because it was designed for temporary masking (emphasis on the word temporary). The trouble is, after a few days, especially in warm temperatures, it degrades fast. The adhesive begins to liquefy and separate from the paper backing and gets absorbed by the material it is attached to, then finally a portion of it crystallizes and dries up. Eventually you have harmful acidic adhesive staining your paper or needlework. Not pretty. Not easy to remove either! You want to avoid masking tape (unless you are temporarily “masking” something off. Acid free masking tape isn’t any better either. If you need to prevent your needlework from fraying – sew a hem around the edge instead.
Q. What is a standard size of frame?
A. Actually, as the name implies, the custom framing industry doesn’t really have any standard sizes. While the photo industry did adhere to a few standards sizes, like 8×10 & 11×14, (these are mostly gone now due to the changing dynamics of digital photo sizes), the art & collectible industry uses non-standard sizes of all dimensions, decided mostly at whim by the artist or publisher. One of the reasons this may be done is to prevent nice artwork from being haphazardly ‘jammed’ into an over-the-counter pre-made frame that does little to maintain the integrity of the medium used and does much to damage the integrity of the artist design of the media. Thankfully, there are many (not all) custom framers that are well dedicated and able to not only preserve your artwork, but also enhance it with an appropriate frame that is custom made to fit the size, design & needs of the artwork.
Q. Why do I always see glass in frames? – I don't like the reflections!
A. Sometimes the glass is just to hold the picture flat. That’s the way it is when you put an 8×10 photo in an 8×10 frame without matting. The photo is sandwiched between the glass and the cardboard backing. (However a respectable frame shop won’t use this procedure because when glass is in contact with a photo, a lot of scary things can happen. Normally we use spacers or matting to space the glazing away from the art.) Glass protects the art from many environmental effects that will degrade the material over time. Damage from rapid temperature fluctuations, humidity, harmful light, gases, insects & other physical contact are limited with appropriate glazing. Every type of glass can be an effective barrier to protect the longevity of what is being framed.
Q. Is UV protection a rip-off? It won't be in the sunlight!
A. If you pay for something that brings you no useable benefits – you might call it that. However, in our experience, if you have something that you want to keep for at least a few years and don’t want it to fade or discolour in that time – protection from harmful ultra-violet rays is a wise investment. Most people think that sunlight is the only source of UV worth worrying about. Fact is, all indoor and outdoor light (natural and artificial) sources contain harmful ultra-violet rays. You won’t need protection if it is in a dark location – BUT THEN AGAIN, YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO SEE IT EITHER!
Q. How much UV protection do I need? - It is not a Rembrandt!
A. Unfortunately, the lower the price of the art (ie. posters etc) often is a result of low production costs – meaning non-stable inks & papers etc etc. Limited edition prints and high end art might use better materials, but you want to ensure added protection with these as well. If you want it to stay the same for more than a few years (or less in some circumstances), you need a UV protection of at least 97%. Our UV protection glass is rated at blocking 99% of all harmful UV. Only 1% or less will pass through the glass to destroy what it can.
Q. Can I see a sample of UV damage?
A. Certainly – come on down and ask for our sample matting & art that came from a damaged job we took apart. After only a few years on the wall – extreme fading of the matting AND especially of the needlework occurred. The client was unaware of the damage until we took it apart. SINCE WE USUALLY SEE THE ART EVERY DAY, WE DON’T NOTICE THE GRADUAL CHANGE UNTIL WE SEE WHAT IT USE TO LOOK LIKE! Exposed UV light causes severe colour change and/or loss, paper embrittlement and is cumulative and irreversible! UV protection is your built-in insurance against much of this damage.
Q. Do I need a matboard?
A. Matboards are not essential. However, if the item being framed is of value, either monetary or otherwise, it is essential to space the artwork from the glass, and this is usually best done with a matboard.
Q. Are there any other reasons for a matboard?
A. Usually matboards also play a big role in the frame design – they simply make it look better. A professional frame designer should be able to suggest colours, textures, shapes and border sizes that best accomplish your needs and desires. Often the matting overlaps thin paper art, and as such, it tends to prevent bucking.
Q. Does my matboard need to be covered with glass?
A. Matboards are not manufactured to be exposed to the elements – they are meant to be covered by a glazing material such as glass or acrylic. Glazing protects them from fading, moisture, insects, dust and smoke, rapid temperature changes, and from all those oily fingers.
Q. Doesn't the matting take away from the art?
A. Often. We see a lot of bad framing design out there. A well trained framing specialist will be able to recommend matting that protects and enhances the art, certainly making it stand out in the final presentation.
Q. Why do I see such wide matboards nowadays?
A. Contrary to what you might think, wide matting, chosen correctly, can bring more attention to the art then the framing elements. Frames of strong colour shape or texture can be toned down with a neutral matte of substantial width. (Its also a great way to place smaller art on the huge walls so prevalent in modern homes.)
Q. Isn't one matboard enough?
A. Depends…art with a lot of depth either in actual thickness or visually (like most scenics), benefit from more layers of matting. An image with a lot of depth looks great when the matting shares that feature. Often the extra depth requirements of thicker artwork beg for extra mattes to keep the glazing from touching the art.
Q. Shouldn't we just go for a white matte since that is what most artists and galleries use?
A. More often than not, white mattes are used because they go with almost anything and come cheaper by the box. No-clash means, it’ll work for you and anyone else. We like to be better than will-do! Blacks, greys, whites, and to some extent neutrals work with most people and colours, BUT, the tailored colour and texture to match the art, room, and client is always better!
Q. So What really is CUSTOM about your framing?
A. Custom framing is in the title of most picture framers’ names, even the big-box stores, but it really means different things in every case. Custom implies a limited run, a tailored product. The problem with that designation being on the signage of most shops though, is that it can mean something simple like custom size! Most frame shops bring in ‘ready-made’ frames of a custom size for the current project at hand. They choose from one of the colours & profiles available, and the frame gets delivered to their shop ready for assembly. Many even have the mattes brought in cut to size.
At The Framing Nook, we do all the work in-house, and our work becomes unique – tailored just for you. In our shop, custom means we can make our own matting, (as shown in the framing of the music concert); it means we can change the colour of a frame to match your artwork; it means we will do our best to make a layout design just perfect for the job. It doesn’t have to be rectangular or just an oval – want 5 sides – we’ll do it – we’ve even done 22 sided frames! We do it all in our shop right here in Red Deer – all custom work – tailored just for you, and we are EAGERLY AWAITING THE NEXT CHALLENGE YOU BRING US!
Q. Where should I get a frame for my standard size photo?
A. It depends…if you are looking for the most economical route I would check out some of the local department stores. Since they only sell what is commonly called ‘standard size’ frames, they can take advantage of economies of scale and huge buying power to import very low priced pre-made frames. What comes to mind is London Drugs, WalMart and Michaels Craft Store. If you find that the selection doesn’t include the size, design or colour you are looking for, you may wish to take advantage of the huge selection and customizing service that your favorite trustworthy professional custom frame shop can provide. Remember to consult a professional if any item to be framed is irreplaceable – always ask yourself – what if the item were to be permanently lost – if that’s a problem, you want to seek professional help because improper framing can cause permanent and irreversible damage.
Q. Is there any reason why I shouldn't have my frame 'open-and-closeable'?
A. In custom framing there are a few benefits to having your items accessible, but the disadvantages usually outweigh them. Having access to the inside of the frame can be a good thing, however, it is not advised. As it opens, the possibility for unwanted guests mingling in and about your collection are endless. Things like dust, smoke, and bugs and insects could leave behind waste or damage materials. Also, accessibility allows people handling your items to leave them in disarray, or worse yet, damage or steal them. Depending on the items, and how they are mounted, the extra work involved and associated costs in making items accessible, usually between $50 -$150 or more, can be a huge deterrent as well. If items need to be removed often, we can design a mounting and opening device that facilitates quick access, otherwise a less costlier solution could be used. There are also situations where you may wish to change a display, or expand a display from time to time.
Here are the basic questions you need to answer prior to having your objects framed. Decide if the following is positive, negative, or dependent.
- Do you need access to the items?
- Do they need to be removed?
- How often?
- Will the display change or expand?
- Will it be in a public place (vandalism, theft, danger)
- Will it be in a dusty, dirty, smoky environment?
- Will the frame be easily accessible?
- Are the items of high value to others?
Discuss these with your picture framer before assuming that it needs to be accessible. If the answer is yes, we are quite experienced in framing valuable items that need to be removable, including the following:
- An expandable display of golf balls
- Custom made jewelry which the client wore on special occasions
- War medals which needed to be worn for special ceremonies
- Jerseys to wear when the favorite team comes to town
- Staff pictures that update as new hires arrive and positions change
- Record and CD collections so the owner could rotate their collection on their wall
- Certificates that change from year to year.
Make sure your framer has a lot of experience in their repertoire to prove their skills before going ahead with such a specialized method of framing.
Q. Shouldn't the framing be cheaper than the art?
A. Think a $536 framing job on a $25 print that looks absolutely amazing (& looks like it should be in a high-class exhibition) is out of line? Our clients tell us it isn’t when they ooh & aah at pickup time. Custom isn’t cheap – but unless you don’t want your art, or worse yet, your memories to look cheap, spending good money on doing it right will give you the most value for your hard earned money, because you are more likely to really enjoy it for a long time! While a lot of artwork is mass-produced at very low actual cost of production, our custom-made framing is very labour intensive (about 60% goes to labour costs), and therefore the framing can cost many times more that the art itself. I think you will agree that the final result of the framed piece and the many years of enjoyment it brings in terms of decor or memory establishes it’s true value. It reminds me of the light I needed near my big chair for reading – I really just needed a light bulb on a cord; however, by the time all is said & done, the fancy custom-made decorative floor-lamp cost many times more than the $5 light bulb I actually read with!